Charles Martin

With the elections for the Mayor and Assembly Members only days away, perhaps now is not the best time to start thinking about the next time that we will cast our vote. But the local council elections in May 2014 are not actually that far away, and given how cycling is very much in the spotlight at the moment, with The Times’ ‘Cities fit for cycling’ campaign, the inspiring London Cycling Campaign ‘Love London, Go Dutch’ project and the excellent Sustrans Free Range Kids initiative all adding to the debate, now really is the time to give the cycling momentum a local perspective.

That is why I have written to all the elected councillors in the London Borough of Sutton to ask them to start thinking specifically about what could be done in their ward, in the streets where their constituents live, and in the neighbourhoods where their constituents go about their day-to-day lives, to enable people more readily to consider travel by foot or by bike for some of their journeys for some of the time. I would like the councillors to ensure that their constituents are aware of the current campaigns on safety issues for all road users, on why smarter travel can be better travel, and why putting independent and active travel back at the heart of childhood would be a good thing.

So whether our first choice is to drive, take the bus, whether we run, hop or saunter to catch the train, ride the bike or simply make time for walking, let’s hope that the journey towards the 2014 local elections will be an opportunity for everyone to engage in all the issues that could help Sutton become an even better place. And who knows, in the process, we may take some inspiration from The Netherlands as well. After all, when it comes to cycling, the Dutch certainly seem to know a thing or two!

The “Cycling towards 2014” letter can be viewed by clicking here.

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